India is open to self-regulation of social media content: MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar


Despite a lack of consensus among big tech companies to create a joint appeals panel, a federal minister told Reuters that India continues to favor a self-regulatory body for social media content disputes.

The government on Friday said it would set up an appeals panel amid concerns that it would have no recourse if users objected to the moderation decisions of firms such as Meta, Twitter or Google.

The move is seen as the latest attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration to regulate big tech firms through policy changes, which often upset companies complaining about excessive compliance burdens.

The panel’s news came when New Delhi said in June that it could scrap the proposal if the companies themselves banded together to form a self-regulatory body. But they failed to reach a consensus – Google was opposed to external reviews, as Reuters reported in August, while Meta and Twitter favored self-regulation for fear of government redundancies.

India’s Minister of State for IT Rajiv Chandrasekhar told Reuters in an interview on Saturday that New Delhi may still consider industry self-regulation because the government-led review is “not something we want to spend a lot of time doing.” “.

He added, however, that such a body “cannot be a casual club of industry people” and must have representation from the consumer and the government.

Meta, Twitter and Google did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Judging about social media content has been a particularly thorny issue in India.

During a press briefing on Saturday, Chandrashekhar said the existing system of in-house grievance redressal in tech companies was “broken”.

Twitter has faced a backlash in the past after it blocked accounts of influential Indians, including politicians, citing violations of its policies. It also locked horns with the Indian government last year when it refused to fully comply with orders to close accounts, saying the government spread misinformation.

Chandrasekhar told Reuters, the government panel “is a signal to them (social media firms) that they need to step up their game.”

— Reuters

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